Updated December 11, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

The 10 Best Gaming VR Headsets

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in November of 2016. Virtual reality is among the most rapidly advancing fields of technology, and one primary reason is its entertainment value. Even better than your own private movie screening, interactive VR delivers more thrilling and immersive gaming than has ever been possible before. One of these top-rated headsets will provide a great experience, no matter how seriously you take your games. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best gaming vr headset on Amazon.

10. Vive Pro Eye

9. Oculus Go

8. Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Kit

7. HTC Vive Cosmos

6. PlayStation VR

5. Valve Index

4. HTC Vive Original

3. Samsung Odyssey+

2. Oculus Rift S

1. Oculus Quest

Editor's Notes

December 02, 2019:

VR gaming has come a long way in just a couple years, and while it's still pretty costly to get into, it's actually coming down in price. Good evidence for that comes in the form of the Samsung Odyssey+, which is a breeze to use in graphically intensive titles, and for more casual users, the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Kit and Oculus Go are also quite fun. Meanwhile, the Oculus Quest, though slightly more expensive, provides an impressive level of performance as the first fully standalone headset to become extremely popular for running AAA games.

If you're willing to spend a little more, the Oculus Rift S is about as nice as a consumer-level headset gets and has a considerable list of compatible games. The HTC Vive Original is still going strong as one of the most popular options, and although other units have surpassed in technology and affordability, it's still plenty of fun and performs quite well. The HTC Vive Cosmos is one of the newest and is designed for a streamlined performance, but it does have a major flaw in its tracking process. Luckily, HTC is well aware of this problem and has already released one software update, and they are apparently working hard on solutions to further increase the tracking quality; when a new firmware version comes out, the Cosmos may prove to be one of the top few models. And if you're a Playstation 4 user, the PlayStation VR is definitely worth picking up.

If you're willing to spend considerably more, check out the Vive Pro Eye and Valve Index. The Vive Pro Eye is likely the most technologically advanced right now, although its extreme price makes it inaccessible to most consumers. The Valve Index is slightly less expensive than the Pro Eye, and both consumers and critics agree that it looks the best, induces the least motion sickness, and has the largest catalog currently available. Also remember that for almost all of these, you'll need a relatively powerful graphics card in your PC to make use of it at all.

The History Of Games

We're apt to apply the newest and most cutting-edge machinery to the purpose of our amusement.

Human beings have made tremendous accomplishments throughout history in the name of entertainment. The earliest sports developed significant cultural meaning for those who played. Archaeologists have unearthed board games in the tombs of ancient rulers. Playing games has always been a part of individual and social development for nearly every child growing up. And no matter how busy we get or how old we are, there's absolutely no reason why we have to stop such a fun activity.

We're apt to apply the newest and most cutting-edge machinery to the purpose of our amusement. At one point, that meant an animal bladder and maybe a stick. Games of the board and card varieties have similarly been around for hundreds and thousands of years in various iterations.

It's only been since the 1970s that we've played games using machines that process digital data — also known as computers. The original arcade games used (at the time) powerful 8-bit processors, and they were large, heavy, expensive, high-maintenance, and so not ideal for home use.

Around the same time, home computer gaming also began its lowly birth when friends across the world took to the classic Pong console in the comfort of their own basements for ultimate bragging rights. The boom in home computing over the next decade brought consumers various options for electronic entertainment in machines like the Apple II and the Atari 2600.

Over time, consoles continued to advance, each successive generation ushering in a new level of graphics, control, and playability. Meanwhile, PCs began their rise to the top as bastions of data processing, social interaction, and — you guessed it — electronic gaming. Entire industries have arisen around gaming, not the least of which is the development of powerful hardware and software to paint vivid, 3-D images. Video game playing itself is now an actual professional sport, with some e-sports players making greater salaries than minor league baseball players.

So, it's time we took gaming seriously.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

And why shouldn't video games be an important part of our lives? There's nothing inherently wrong with playing video games, that is, as long as your homework gets done first. And the benefits of all types of games has been apparent for as long as they've been played. Even in early society, games served many purposes other than just passing otherwise boring hours.

In fact, one of today's most innovative electronic developments truly could not seem farther from the games of years past.

The physical benefits of early games helped keep the whole tribe in peak condition for the hunt. Athletic and strategic competitions were and are still used to help train warriors for combat situations. Board games of antiquity often contained moral teachings and ethical tests to help hone one's power of judgment. And playing with human beings increases our social skills and helps us bond with others.

Video games, in particular, have their own benefits. Increased hand-eye coordination is the most obvious, but it goes far deeper than that. They've been linked to the treatment of pain and even depression. There's actually evidence that playing action games trains your vision and helps with critical tasks like night-time driving. A lot of today's games involve extensive physical movement and can encourage athletic pursuits outside of the living room.

Of course, one wouldn't associate Call of Duty with such traditions as the ancient Egyptian Senet or the always popular ball-in-a-cup. In fact, one of today's most innovative electronic developments truly could not seem farther from the games of years past. It's called virtual reality, and it has forever changed the gaming landscape.

The immersion that virtual reality units allow is second to none. As a result, VR is showing never-before-seen promise with therapy patients like ill children and PTSD sufferers. Businesses are also taking advantage of the technology for tasks like recruitment, training, and property purchasing. But most people will experience the wonders of virtual reality via their home computer or console.

A Whole New World

As with any high-end electronic, VR gaming headsets present a wide range of selections with varying features and build quality. Some use a video feed from your computer and others use your phone itself as the screen. Other units are self-contained, letting you dive into a fantastic 3-D world without being tied to a device. Mobile models will be less expensive, and you'll have to make sure that your phone will work with the exact headset you choose. And there are countless interactive videos on the internet that these headsets will help you enjoy.

Some include integrated speakers and microphones, letting you converse with your teammates and the AI effortlessly.

High-end VR units will typically connect to your home computer and contain various cameras and sensors as well as a top-of-the-line video display. A model's physical configuration and weight are definitely important considerations when making sure you'll be comfortable. If a headset is heavy, or isn't shaped right, or if the image appears blurry, you certainly won't end up wearing it for very long. So, how it makes your head and eyes feel is of utmost importance.

The best VR units capture your body movement through multiple sensors, so the motions you make with your body will be well-represented in the game. Some include integrated speakers and microphones, letting you converse with your teammates and the AI effortlessly.

You will be moving around during this experience, while not paying much attention to the real world. So make sure you have a clear area with a clean, safe floor where you won't trip and fall back into reality when you're supposed to be battling hordes of zombies. Be wary of motion sickness, too, which is a common problem for those new to VR. If you get dizzy, just take a break.

Always remember those breaks, whether for your eye health, to use the bathroom, to eat food, or simply to let your family know that you're still alive. You're just busy living in a virtual reality.

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Christopher Thomas
Last updated on December 11, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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